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Trippy knees-up of bad vibes - 46%

gasmask_colostomy, June 13th, 2018

Quite why Reverend Bizarre split up as suddenly as they did is anyone’s guess, but the aftermath of the Finnish doom overlords has led to the creation of several other interesting projects. One of them is The Puritan, which featured the guitarist and drummer of Sinisthra in addition to Sami Hynninen, better known as bassist and vocalist Albert Witchfinder of RevBiz, though also of Azrael Rising, Spiritus Mortis, and many more. However, the group has since dissolved after only a couple of recordings. The keyword here is “interesting”, because it’s difficult to say that these guys are really that good, not having much emotional resonance for doom nor many riffs that one would be able to hum in the shower. For The Black Law, the quirks are certainly the best things on offer.

So what quirks do we have exactly? I suppose one of the most obvious for anyone thinking of Hynninen's more famous band is the almost total lack of vocals, which show up only rarely in the longer songs and then tend to repeat phrases in an enhanced scream, as we find with the refrain of "Suffer the same as I" from ‘It Is Your Own Decision to Respect Life'’. Knowing that this song sounds like it has industrial-style drumming and that another has prolonged samples of either torture or fornication would also surprise anyone tempted by the network of associated projects. Probably the greatest way in which this differs from most doom being produced near the Arctic circle is that the songs do not stick to a sorrowful, lamenting, or religious moods, rarely repeating a concept after the piece ends, so that a shortish album (alright, a longish EP then) feels slightly more full than it would otherwise considering that each composition doesn’t progress much from a single idea.

The songs that try a heavy approach are the most substantial pieces, ‘The Touch of Kindness Knows No Kingdom’ repeating one bass-loaded crusher of a riff for about four minutes and then ODing on feedback as the girl continues to moan, while ‘The Blue and Purple Lesson in Love’ (shouldn’t that one have had the sample?) goes for slow chugging and more traditional vocals. This final song does indeed beckon comparisons to the aforementioned Finnish overlords of doom, featuring monkish “aah”s in the background as it climbs gradually up to vaguely emotional heights. However, I’m tempted to say that everyone making this album was stoned because another distorted drum beat grinds out of a comatose bass interlude and into the most evocative riff of the release, which isn’t repeated for nearly as long as any of the others. They were definitely stoned when writing ‘You Have to Be Awake When They Come’ because that’s just an annoying buzz of guitar amps, even if the fragile ‘Why Did You Say That Summer Was Dying?’ is a wandering calm piece.

In all honesty, there’s a bit too much of what I would call tooling around to make The Black Law a worthwhile release, feeling more like a trippy knees-up of bad vibes with some much more capable musicians. If the music here sounds interesting, it’s probably worth getting this on the compilation Lithium Gates, since that feels more like a real album by virtue of combining the band’s two EPs. Anyway, I’m not going to search out The Puritan’s songs very often.

-- May Diamhea's feat of 100 reviews in 7 days remain unbeaten --